Arts Orbit Weekly: 12/18/08


This week’s picks

Thursday, December 18
Enough of this thinking crap…it’s time to kick back with a Premium at Jimmy’s Bar and Lounge in Northeast (1828 4th St. N.E.) for some good ol’ bingo. You can win up to $1,000! That’s a lot of cocktail weenies.

Friday, December 19
Whisk your sweetheart, or your family, or the hobo sleeping on the abandoned couch in front of your building (thanks, UPI) to the magical queendom of St. Catherine in the Grove Land of Ramsey County, where thee and thine might perchance to see a “classic” Nutcracker (in other words, Mother Ginger is probably the only performer in drag) presented by Ballet Minnesota.

Saturday, December 20
If Dwight Hobbes doesn’t see you at Trocaderos tonight for the triple bill featuring Root City, 2 Wurds, and The New Congress—“so good you should be able to roll them up and smoke ’em”—he’s going to hunt you down and personally slap you upside the head.

Sunday, December 21
If your rich uncle has been offering to take you out to a holiday show, suggest the Ordway’s White Christmas, a stage spectacular that’s actually worth the $25 (standing room) to $125 a ticket will run you.

Monday, December 22
You’re going to watch A Christmas Story anyway, so why not do it in a theater built around the time little Ralphie would have been trading his Little Orphan Annie decoder ring for a Betty Grable pinup? The Riverview is hosting screenings with admission of only 50 cents—plus a can of food for the Minnehaha Food Shelf.

Tuesday, December 23
It’s time for a break from sugar plums and egg nog: today, nosh instead on some 100% guaranteed Mexican food prepared by 100% guaranteed Mexicans at Adelita’s.

Wednesday, December 24
You were going to watch A Christmas Story anyway, but what you weren’t going to watch anyway is The Christmas Story, a cult favorite Finnish film about the youth of Santa Claus. It’s playing at the Oak Street Cinema along with the world’s only English-subtitled print of Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, a fantasy adventure based on the Astrid Lindgren story about “dark forests, fierce bandits, grumpy dwarves, and brave little girls.”

For more weekend picks, see the Weekend What’s What from l’etoile magazine.

Daily Planet arts roundup


It was Tonic Sol-fa Week at the Daily Planet…well, it’s always Tonic Sol-fa Week at the Daily Planet. Another celebration this week was DJ Ray Richardson’s tenth year at KMOJ.

In classical music news, Leila Josefowicz was in town (specifically, Apple Valley) to play an Adés concerto with the SPCO, and the Walker debuted a new opera based on Gertrude Stein’s doorstop novel The Making of Americans. Though we may appreciate classical music, Minnesotans are not quite in step with British choirmasters when it comes to our favorite Christmas carols—or at least, my family members aren’t.

Looking forward, Dwight Hobbes talks with 2 Wurds bassist Nate Cole about the bill his band will be sharing this Saturday with The New Congress and Root City.


The independent arts scene took another blow when In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre announced that, due to economic constraints, it will be closing for the first several weeks of 2009. Mary Turck writes about the news and reviews HOBT’s last annual production of La Natividad. Meanwhile, the Twin Cities’ other puppet theater, Open Eye Figure Theatre, celebrated its eighth annual holiday pageant. My mom and sister were wowed by the Ordway’s White Christmas, and Mom writes—in an article that is not a review!—that SteppingStone’s Best Christmas Pageant Ever is worth checking out…if you don’t have any other grade-school pageants to attend this year.

Visual Arts

The rumors proved true this week, as Intermedia Arts announced plans to close its doors and lay off all full-time staff. They’re looking to raise funds, and they might take a page from Robert Barry’s book by presenting nothing, saying it’s something, and getting people to pay for it. All arts institutions are fighting the economic tide, but the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art had a literal tide to turn this summer; fortunately, Harry Potter is helping the CRMA out. Finally, Mary Kay Bailey praises the font-lovers’ trash talk represented in Campfire’s designs.


The big book news this week was Barack Obama’s selection of Graywolf poet Elizabeth Alexander to read at his inauguration next month. The little book news was the publication of Trees and Shrubs of Minnesota. Meanwhile, Rain Taxi Review of Books has been reduced to selling dirty ditties for cash.


Erica Mauter salutes the 60th anniversary of the Riverview Theater, and Rebecca Collins talks with Nicholl Fellowship winner Jeremy Bandow about the life of an up-and-coming screenwriter.


Jeremy Iggers writes about the tasty tacos and hot karaoke at Adelita’s Mexican Restaurant (sorry, no video).

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Jay Gabler ( is the Daily Planet’s arts editor.